Wearing Compression Garments after Plastic Surgery – Why they are a MUST

Compression garments need to be worn after plastic surgery. They serve a critical function in recovery after major surgical procedures. They are a crucial part of postoperative care following plastic surgery procedures such as liposuctionmammoplastybreast augmentation surgeryabdominoplastyface liftingneck lifting etc.

Why should I wear a Compression Garment after plastic surgery?

The use of compression garments helps to accelerate the healing process and improves your postoperative prognosis. Furthermore, it helps in stabilizing post-operative changes while also reducing pain and swelling associated with the procedure. It supports your healing wound and reduces stress and tension on the incision line. This can help in minimising scars. The garment, in addition to aiding in the healing process by reducing swelling and bruising, also helps reduce pain and discomfort. Compression garments can help you maintain your mobility after surgery as they allow you to move more easily.

What are the benefits of using a compression garment?

1. A Compression Garment Helps reduce swelling.

Swelling occurs postoperatively when too much fluid builds up in the cavities or tissue of the affected part. It is a very common complication following plastic surgery that can result in weight gain and fluid retention. The use of a compression garment can help reduce this swelling by compressing the body part that you have had surgery on.

2. A Compression Garment can help reduce postoperative Bruising.

In addition to reducing swelling, compression garments reduce the chance of bruising as well. Surgery disrupts blood vessels. Wearing compressive garments postoperatively reduces the chance of bruising by compressing the vessels and keeping the red blood cells from percolating towards the epidermis. Not wearing a compression garment considerably increases the chance of postoperative bruising.

3. A Compression Garment can help reduce postoperative pain.

Compression garments also promote circulation and decrease swelling, which in turn accelerates your recovery which reduces the body’s inflammatory process, resulting in less pain. Furthermore, the pressure caused by garments helps in reducing pain.

4. A Compression Garment can help to reduce postoperative skin sagging.

Compression garments hold the skin to underlying tissues tightly and accelerate the body’s healing process. Especially after liposuction, where excess fat is removed, leaving excess skin behind. Compression garments help provide the skin with support, holding your skin in place—thereby reducing postoperative sagging.

5. A Compression Garment can help reduce infection.

It provides a mechanical barrier to your skin, protecting you from infections. By promoting circulation it encourages cells to fight against infectious pathogens; thus reducing your chances of infection.

6. A Compression Garment can help maintain your new contour.

The plastic surgery procedure helps you get the desired contour to your body, but the changes obtained after the surgery are maintained with the help of compression garments.

7. A Compression Garment can help promote circulation.

After your plastic surgery procedure, you will need to have some time off work to rest and recuperate. However, restricted mobility increases the risks of clot formation and venous incompetence due to the decrease in circulation. This can have devastating consequences.

The use of compression garments can help squeeze your peripheral blood vessels and promote circulation reducing the risks associated with poor circulation like DVT

8. A Compression Garment provides comfort and Support to helps in easy mobility.

The garment is made of lightweight materials that are comfortable enough for everyday wear all day long. They typically come with an opening at the back that makes them easy to put on or take off without assistance from another person; some even contain zippers making them easier still! Compressing areas worn over wounds will not only ensure faster healing but also prevent any unwanted movement which might cause further harm

9. A Compression Garment helps reduce the chances of keloid scar formation.

Keloids form due to the accumulation of excess scar tissues in your healed wound. Wearing compression garments helps soften and break down keloids.

plastic surgery recovery_compression-garment

Compression Garment FAQs – Questions about Post Op Garments

How long do I need to wear a compression garment following plastic surgery?

  • The duration depends on the extent of your surgery as well as your healing ability. 
  • For surgical procedures involving large contour changes, you will be told to wear compression garments for 6-8 weeks postoperatively 24 hours a day.
  • Tummy tucks are a large body contouring plastic surgical procedure, so you will be expected to wear a compression garment for six to eight weeks following it.
  • The only time the garments should be taken off is whilst taking a shower. 
  • For minor surgical procedures, two weeks wearing compression garments might be enough. 
  • However, your surgeon will advise you on how long you should wear a compression garment – Follow you surgeons instructions.

What do compression garments do?

Compression garments help reduce;

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Postoperative pain
  • Postoperative sagging of skin
  • And, risk of infection
  • As well as helping to maintain your new contour.

What happens if you don’t wear compression garments after liposuction?

  • Liposuction is a plastic surgery procedure to remove excess fat from specific areas of your body by the process of suctioning. 
  • Compression garments help reduce sagging in areas of the void that are a result of removing excess fat by holding the skin together.
  • Not wearing compression garments results in unpleasant visible sagging of skin.
  • It also results in an increased occurrence of bruising and postoperative pain.

Does compression help with belly fat and weight loss?

  • No evidence suggests wearing compression garments can result in weight loss in any way. 
  • Compression garments compress your body tissues tightly by exerting pressure on them, giving you an illusion of weight loss. 
  • On the contrary, it may slow down your weight loss by causing support muscles to atrophy under immense pressure.
plastic surgery recovery_ compression

3 Stages of Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery

The three stages of wearing a compression garment are summarised below;

Stage 1

Stage one garments are used immediately following the surgical procedure to remove excess swelling due to fluid accumulation and reduce bruising. These garments allow easy drainage of fluids postoperatively. Stage one garments are zippered with hooks and eyes, which help reduce friction. Stage one garments are worn for about 1 – 2 weeks or more, depending upon the surgery’s nature. These garments need to be worn round the clock and should be taken off only while taking showers.

  • For use immediately following your surgical procedure. They help remove excess swelling that is the result of fluid accumulation as well as reducing bruising. 
  • These garments also allow for easy drainage of fluids postoperatively.
  • Furthermore, stage one garments have zippers, hooks and eyes, which help reduce friction.
  • They are worn for approximately 1 – 2 weeks. However, sometimes they are worn for longer, depending upon the surgery’s nature.

Stage 2

This stage starts about three or four weeks after surgery. At this point, your body is not creating as much fluid. Stage two garments are worn during this stage of wound healing. They will need to be worn for between two to eight weeks. This is due to the fact they provide much-needed support to your newly contoured body. 

Because they do not have zippers or eyes they can be used more comfortably under your clothes. You will not be expected to wear these garments throughout the day.

  • Worn during the second stage of wound healing. usually worn from the second postoperative week onwards (Usually 2-8 weeks).
  • Provide support to the newly contoured body. 
  • They don’t have zippers or eyes and can be used more comfortably under your clothes.

Stage 3

By this stage, your newly acquired contours will have been noticeable. While the healing process occurs at a different rate for different individuals, postoperative swelling subsides by about three months. However, compression garments might still be necessary if your swelling has not yet subsided.

What is the best tummy tuck compression garment?

  • It is important to choose a high-quality garment to minimize your post-op discomfort. This will make your recovery a little easier.
  • Brands like Marena and Device and suppliers like Exquisite Bodies are recommended for garments
  • Given that you will be wearing it for about two months, you don’t want it to be uncomfortable. It can make your recovery harder if you choose a  low-quality garment.
  • Therefore, the quality of a compression garment is important not only for your comfort but for your recovery as well.

What are some features to consider before choosing your compression garments? 

  • Materials with good Antibacterial properties that prevent bacterial growth on the skin. Controlling bacterial growth also reduces offensive odours.
  • Garments with breathable materials. These provide you comfort by reducing sweating and keeping you dry. Whereas, poor garment materials can lead to impaired wound healing.
  • A piece of good durable fabric with plenty of stretches that can fit your desired body area comfortably.
  • Compression garments with moisture-wicking properties. Moisture-wicking properties no only help keep your skin dry but also helps reduce bacterial spread. 
  • Seamless design to avoid unnecessary irritation on the skin.
  • Compression garments with zippers or hook-and-eye closures reduce friction. In other words, you will not have to strain when taking the garment on and off. 

Are there any other ways to reduce swelling in addition to compression garments?

  • Swelling is a normal response of the body’s inflammatory process to any surgery. However, too much swelling can result in aesthetic and functional complications.
  • There are a few things you can do to minimize excessive swelling and fluid collection that occurs after surgery in addition to compression garments, which includes:
  • Applying cold compresses at the site of swelling for a few days following surgery
  • Elevating your incision site above heart level using inclined pillows helps drain away fluid and reduce swelling caused due to fluid retention.
  • Furthermore, you should try and avoid salty foods.
  • Salt contains Na+ ions, which hold water and pulls water towards the body, resulting in excess fluid being accumulated in the body and causing it to swell.
  • And lastly, avoid the use of diuretics. 

What happens if my compression garment is too tight?

The compression garment you wear should be comfortable yet exert adequate pressure to support the healing area. It should not be too tight. Wearing too-tight compression garments causes it to bunch up, this, in turn, may cause the blood supply to be compressed. Moreover, pressing on blood vessels too tightly can result in skin hyperpigmentation. Adequate circulation is very important for your recovery.  

So, remember wearing a compression garment that is too tight can cause more harm than good. The use of poorly fitting compression bandages increases the risk of lymphedema.

How tight should your compression garment be after surgery, and how to know if it is the correct fit for you?

Compression garments should be tight enough to provide adequate support to healing areas but not so tight that they cause difficulty and discomfort. As mentioned above, wearing garments that are too tight do more harm than good, an ideal compression garment should fit snugly to your body and should be comfortable. Furthermore, you should be able to slide your hand inside the garment comfortably without strain in an adequately tight compression garment.

Further Medical References about wearing Compression Garments after Surgery

PubMed on Compression garments 101
Complete Guide to Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery (beldholm.com.au)
Support Compression Garments | New Body Specialists
Stage 1 surgical compression garments at Pharmathera.com
Tierney Orthotics and Prosthetics, Winston-Salem, NC on How Compression Garments Improve Your Circulation

Dr Patrick Briggs Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Dr Patrick Briggs
FRCS (Plas)

Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon. Both he and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Dr Patrick Briggs offers not only high quality but also natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results. Furthermore, he is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. 

Dr Patrick Briggs is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men and women.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.

Phone 1300 264 811Email us or Book a free 15-minute Call with Dr Patrick Briggs’s team.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday on 1300 264 811.
Dr Patrick Briggs consultation

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential. However,
  • To claim any Medicare or Health Insurance you will need a referral.
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.